Star Program

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Article Contributed by
Chautauqua County Office for the Aging

The Chautauqua County Office for the Aging wants to remind everyone that the deadline for applying for the Star Programs for most towns is March 1, 2016 with the exception of the City of Dunkirk and a few other municipalities which can be as late as May 1, 2016. Check with your local assessor’s office if you did not get your star benefit last year or if you are a senior who has not signed up for Enhanced STAR and Income Verification.
Basic Star is available to all homeowners of any age with income less than $500,000 per year and gives them a reduction in their school taxes depending on income. In 2015, NY State required all homeowners to reapply for the STAR benefit. If you did not re-register in 2015, you can register and apply for these benefits online by going to www.tax.ny.gov and click on register for STAR or you can call (518) 457-2036 M-F and Saturday mornings. Basic STAR benefits can save you between $255- $840 on your annual school taxes in Chautauqua County depending on your school district.
Senior Citizen homeowners may be eligible for the Enhanced STAR benefit if they are 65 years or older and their income is less than $81,900. NY State has said that seniors citizens did not have to reapply last year but that may not be true if you did not sign up for the Income Verification program or are turning 65 in 2016.
Who is eligible for Enhanced STAR?
• Individuals 65+ are eligible if they own their own home (or have life use).
• Have an income of $84,550 or less.
• People are eligible the year that they turn 65; they do not have to wait for the following year.
The State Income Verification Program is available and should be completed the first year you apply for Enhanced STAR. However, joining the Income Verification Program is not a guarantee that you will not have to provide additional information or fill out forms every year to verify your income. Any questions about the STAR or Enhanced STAR programs, should be directed to your local town assessor’s office. According to the NY State website, the Enhanced STAR program can save seniors in Chautauqua County between $510-$1,797 depending on your school district.
For more information on the STAR program visit the NY State website www.tax.ny.gov or contact your local town assessor. For more information on the Office for the Aging or for STAR applications, call NY Connects Helpline at 753-4582, 363-4582, or 661-7582.